This dearth of loud-mouthed brashy-ness is due in part to a renewed focus on my work, as an arts/entertainment writer for brisbanetimes.com.au
It's a truly brilliant job. Truly. I burn a goat in sacrifice everyday just to thank the elder gods for this gift.
|May Shub-Niggurath bless my journalistic endeavours |
with his terrible, terrible wrath.
There's been a lot to learn, technicalities-wise, as I've made the switch from radio to online journalism. But the basic tenet of writing interesting stories that are factually correct remains the same, and so I've been focusing extra hard on doing that stuff well.
The one area of opinion-giving in my new role is review and criticism - and so far I've been mostly pleasant and positive. Mostly that's because the performances and concerts that I've seen have been enjoyable, and haven't justified an acidic, rapier-like dissection. But it's also because I want to make sure my rapier has been properly sharpened and acid-coated and I'm confident enough with my surgical skills before I go in for the cut.
You've got to be able to stand by your opinions.
But also, perhaps more importantly, you've got to be qualified to have them.
Let me give you a potentially controversial example.
The issue of mothers breastfeeding their babies in public jumped into the spotlight when a Bribie Island woman was asked to move while feeding her baby, and then blew into a full-on "storm in a D-cup" (ahh, that old chestnut. Or should that be chest nuts?) when Sunrise presenter David Koch threw in his two cents that you had to be "classy" about it.
Now Kochie really didn't help things, because frankly the "Hey, I'm just a regular Aussie bloke with an opinion!" card doesn't play well.
Moreover this issue is really a non-issue, because breastfeeding in public is absolutely protected by law, and I have absolutely no problem with mothers breastfeeding wherever and whenever they need to.
But I've got to confess ... I kinda don't like it.
Let me rephrase. I find it a bit intimidating. It's a bit... weird. Some may say I've just been brainwashed by Big Porn and only see breasts as sexual. But I know they have a biological role to play in the ongoing successful evolutionary experiment that is "the human race". I know it's natural, and beneficial, and healthy, and all those things. I'm a feminist, and I don't believe women should have to hide away for any reason.
But I've got to confess... breastfeeding still kinda freaks me out.
Now of course, this is entirely my problem. I realise that. This is entirely Natalie's squeamishness and ye olde prudishness.
I couldn't join in the social media barrage about how it's normal and beautiful because it's not how I feel. While, yes, I wanted to avoid the wrath of social media, I also felt as a person who has not had a child that it would be inappropriate for me to chime in. But most of all, breastfeeding is protected under the law. So really, what was the point of having an opinion? It's not like my opinion about breastfeeding counts in any way. It simply doesn't.
So I stayed quiet.
However, what often makes people interesting are their opinions, their particular take on things. Perhaps indeed some of you come here to examine my opinions (sorry about the breastfeeding thing).
So it worries me that I'm not really having a lot of opinions at the moment.
I seem to be deciding that if I'm not qualified to make a comment, or if my opinion has already been repeated often, then there's really no need to express what I think.
But it's becoming harder to sustain a wannabe-pseudo-philosophical blog with only simple opinions like "Africa" by Toto is the best song ever written (it is), or Joss Whedon is all that (he isn't).
In 2012 I had a friend accuse me of bias, before cutting me out of their life. I realise now how much that accusation affected me - I was always so proud and so careful about the responsibility of being a journalist and weighing up all angles of a story. Maybe it made me cautious, too cautious. Maybe it made me timid.
I'm going to try to cultivate some more opinions. I'm happy for you to suggest some topics, but don't be leading. It's got to be my opinion, and I've got to be confident to put it out there, like some sort of milk-laden breast. And maybe by using those kinds of metaphors, I might grow a little less freaked out by breastfeeding mothers.